It was a big reunion on New Year’s Eve in Sacramento.
The Grizzlies completely dominated the Sacramento Kings 115- 87. Memphis controlled the game from the start. It was a total team effort in this one. Memphis needed this to build confidence around after the tough loss against the Warriors. They kept the offense at a high level throughout the game.
Before they found their rhythm, the first quarter opened up in a different fashion than the night before. Both teams started a bit in a sluggish fashion. It was the exact opposite of how the game went against Golden State.
And then what a strange sight it was seeing Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph battling for rebounds in the paint. You could definitely see a bit more of the competitive edge between the two. These two friends wanted to one-up each other from the get-go.
Eventually, both teams started finding their shot, especially the Grizzlies, by the end of the quarter. Even Mario Chalmers found his stroke and drilled two threes. At the end of one quarter, the Grizzlies led 35-20. Chalmers led the team in the quarter with 8 points in only 4 minutes on the court.
The second quarter got off to an 11 point Memphis run. The Grizzlies built their lead all the way up to 24 and then they flirted with losing the big lead throughout the quarter. However, they contained the majority of the Kings attempts to pull back into this one. The bench came ready to play in this one. At the half, they all contributed shooting 9-13 combined scoring 27 points.
At the end of two quarters, the score was 64-46 Memphis. Grizzlies were shooting 57.5% from the field and 43.8% from three. They showed confidence on the offensive side of the ball that has carried over from the night before in San Francisco. The team was led by Tyreke Evans having his return to the Kings with 16. Sacramento was led by Willie Cauley-Stein with 14 points. The Kings finished the first half only shooting 43.2%.
Following halftime, the Grizzlies did a solid job of not letting the Kings get back into the game while still keeping their momentum and hot shooting in the first half. Tyreke put on a show against his former squad in this game a the Golden1 Center. In the third quarter, he continued what he started in the first half hitting two quick 3’s. Deyonta Davis came in towards the back end of the quarter, and he put in another game of great minutes. He is slowly getting so much better at learning the game and schemes that he had no clue about last year.
The Grizzlies built the lead all the way up to 32 points as the Kings only offense was through Garrett Temple, who had 11 in the quarter. Memphis could definitely live with Temple scoring the most points on that Kings roster. After three quarters, it was Memphis 90, Kings 63. Grizzlies only gave up 17 points in this quarter and if it wasn’t for Temple and Willie Cauley-Stein it would have been much worse for the Kings.
Up 27 going into the last quarter, the Grizzlies called on some of the young guys to finish this one up. McLemore got out there finally after getting a few questionable DNPs the past few games and hit an early three. Just like Tyreke, it was a revenge game for McLemore as well. Seeing him building confidence is a must for him going forward. Kobi Simmons got some late minutes as well.
The best moment of the 4th quarter was the BIG return of Wayne Selden Jr. He came back and put Georgios Papagiannis on a poster with an absolute slam. It was so nice seeing Selden getting back after he has been battling injury all season long. There was a bit of a Kings run at the end to cut their deficit. However, when all was said and done, the final from Sacramento was 114-96 Grizzlies.
- Tyreke had a great revenge game against his former team. He finished the game with 26 points and 5 assists. He just keeps repeating these games for the Grizzlies. He has moved past the good player, bad team stereotype. Evans is a great player that is on display night after night. His value is high right now, and now is the time for the team to sell him for a good price.
- The bench had a great night contributing 64 points. It was a great effort which is needed for the Grizzlies success. They also used the night before to build confidence in an offensive explosion.
- Marc closed with only 7 points and 2 rebounds. Luckily, the team didn’t need him in this one as it was a complete team effort led by the Reke Freak.
The Grizzlies won their last game of 2017. It will be a big positive to build off of going forward into 2018.